Places – Kingstown

Kingstown, Google Maps
Kingstown — view at Google Maps
Dun laoghaire aerial view
Dún Laoghaire aerial view
George's St, Kingstown - the main thoroughfare

Kingstown — now called Dún Laoghaire ("doon leera"), a town on the southern coast of Dublin Bay. It was a fishing village until the 1830s, when the construction of an asylum harbour established it as the main port of entry for Dublin. It was the Ireland terminal for the mailboats which ferried passengers and post-office mails across the Irish Sea.

"Kingstown is a seaside resort of considerable importance, about seven miles from Dublin, with a population of 25,000 ... The town contains some fine buildings, the Town Hall, the Railway Station, the Marine Hotel, one of the best appointed establishments of its kind in Ireland. – Tours of Dublin, 1905.
Marine Hotel, Kingstown / Dún Laoghaire, c.1930
"Viewed from the sea Kingstown presents a pleasant aspect. There is a good deal of grassy slope to be seen, and the spires of a couple of churches supply just the necessary contrast to the long horizontal lines of the Town Hall and the other buildings of the front. The large artificial harbour here is formed by two great curving breakwaters, that stretch out into the bay like the fore claws of a lobster until they almost meet." – D.A. Chart, The Story of Dublin, 1907.
George's St, Kingstown, c.1900

Holiday resort, watering hole, home for Dublin's bank officials and upper civil servants – Thom's Irish Directory of 1914 describes it as "one of the most populous and wealthy townships in the kingdom". The harbour promenades and laid-out gardens still retain an air of dignified, if windy, gentility.

George IV monument
George IV monument, Dún Laoghaire

Kingstown name — originally the area was named for Lóegaire mac Néill, a 5th century High-King of Ireland, who carried out sea-raids from the vicinity on Britain and Gaul. As a fishing village, the name became anglicized as "Dunleary" (dún in Irish means "fort": thus "the fort of Leary"). In 1821 the rising township was renamed "Kingstown" in honour of King George IV who visited that year. He had come to review the harbour-works then progressing – a much-defaced oblelisk on the seafront records the occasion. William Thackeray in his Irish Sketchbook, 1845, describes the monument thus: "A hideous obelisk, stuck upon four fat balls, and surmounted with a crown on a cushion – the latter were no bad emblems perhaps of the monarch in whose honour they were raised". Thackeray, inimitably, continues:

Before that day, so memorable for joy and sorrow, for rapture at receiving its monarch and tearful grief at losing him, when George IV came and left the maritime resort of the citizens of Dublin, it bore a less genteel name than that which it owns at present, and was called Dunleary. After that glorious event Dunleary disdained to be Dunleary any longer, and became Kingstown henceforward and forever.

In 1921, during the Anglo-Irish war, the town reverted to its earlier name, this time favouring the Irish spelling – Dún Laoghaire ("doon leera"). Nowadays, it's usually pronounced "dun leery".

Kingstown harbour view, c.1900

Harbour — "The harbour is a fine one, enclosing an area of 250 acres, with a depth of water varying from 15 to 27 feet. The East Pier is 3,500 feet in length, the West, 4,950. The harbour was commenced in 1816, and finished in 1859, at a cost of about £900,000. The Carlisle Pier, projecting from the centre of the Harbour, and connected with the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, by a line of rails, was built specially for the Mail service, mails and passengers being despatched daily – 8.15 a.m., and 8.15 p.m., by one or other of the splendid fleet of steamers – the Ulster, Leinster, Connaught, and Munster – owned by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. The incoming Mails arrive at about 5.30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Kingstown Harbour, East Pier, c.1900
"Facing the Pier stands an obelisk erected to commemorate the departure of George IV. in 1821. The East Pier is the grand promenade of Kingstown. It contains a covered band stand, in which military bands perform at regular intervals during the summer season. The Pier is terminated by a light-house, and the view from the end is magnificent, as are indeed, all the views of Dublin Bay, from whatsoever point they are taken." – Tours of Dublin, 1905.
Pavilion Gardens, Kingstown, c.1910

Pavilion — "Close to the Marine Hotel is one of the most picturesque Pavilions in the United Kingdom. It is splendidly appointed and surrounded by well laid out grounds. Good class performances can be always relied on." — Tours of Dublin, 1905.

The Pavilion burnt down in 1915.